Connected vehicle association makes call for wireless spectrum to develop use cases

With autonomous vehicle development looking to hit the accelerator, the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) is calling on national and regional administrations to make sufficient radio spectrum available for mobile communication networks in targeted low- and mid-bands to ensure that the industry develops at its intended rate.

The global, cross-industry organisation of companies and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from the automotive, technology and telecommunications industries expects to see mass deployment of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) use cases geared towards improving traffic efficiency and road safety around the world.

In a recently published whitepaper, A visionary roadmap for advanced driving use cases, connectivity technologies, and radio spectrum Needs, 5GAA explored how leading automakers, mobile network operators and their suppliers see the world of automotive connectivity, with vehicles talking to one another as well as roadside and telecom infrastructure and operators in so-called V2X communication.

The paper highlights selected end-to-end V2X applications factoring in the necessary technological evolution, industry readiness and spectrum needs. 5GAA has developed “advanced driving” use cases such as cooperative manoeuvres and sensor sharing in conjunction with both the adoption of cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) standards and the availability of the required technologies and devices.

With close to 200 million “connected vehicles” already on the roads worldwide in 2020, and a growing number of vehicles with the ability to exchange traffic and road condition information over cellular networks, the foundations for 5G-connected driving are well-established, according to the whitepaper.

Yet 5GAA believes that further progress in coming years will pivot around 5G-V2X use cases for more efficient and safe driving. From 2025 onwards, 5GAA anticipates mass roll out of more advanced automated driving and safety use cases supported by vehicle connectivity. Additional automated driving functionalities are anticipated as from 2026.

5GAA forecasts that between now and 2024, “connected” digital road infrastructure will pave the way for real-time or “dynamic” traffic updates, hazard warnings, and high-definition mapping services. Towards 2026, advanced vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) cooperation will further boost automated driving developments, including sharing sensor data and cooperative manoeuvring.

To fully support this evolution, 5GAA called on national and regional administrations to make sufficient radio spectrum available for mobile communication networks in targeted low- and mid-bands, and it recommends harmonised use of the 5855-5925 MHz band for communication between road users and roadside infrastructure within the wider international digital traffic ecosystem.

“Success in this endeavour requires to have all industry stakeholders on-board, including telecoms and automotive. Only then will new business opportunities and necessary investments be secured to fuel this ‘ecosystem’,” said 5GAA’s CTO and spokesperson Maxime Flament upon the whitepaper’s launch.

The consortium also cautions that some 5G-enabled applications may prove challenging to implement, while others will be easier and offer valuable lessons going forward.

“Low-hanging fruit applications addressing OEM fleets, such as automated valet parking and tele-operated driving will open the door to more secure, safe and interoperable vehicle-to-network automotive applications across borders,” Flament added.

In a call to action, 5GAA said that to deliver end-to-end V2X services and unlock the true value of vehicle connectivity, the realisation of its roadmap would require sufficient spectrum for short-range direct communications at 5.9 GHz, high levels of mobile network coverage along the roads, and sufficient service-agnostic mobile network spectrum for mobile network-based communications, in addition to the bands that are currently identified for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) use.

5GAA sees great promise in the advance of 5G networks in that they make better use of the radio spectrum, boosts mobile network coverage, security and safety, while delivering environmental benefits for citizens and consumers.